Shooting in Florida

Battlefield students react to another US Attack


Photo courtesy of NBC

Rebecca Cutsinger, Author

Friday, January 6th, 5 victims were shot and killed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida leaving 6 wounded. Esteban Santiago,  26, from Anchorage, Alaska, flew to Minneapolis, then to Fort Lauderdale. He took his checked bag from baggage claim and from it took out his 9mm handgun and started firing on fellow travelers. His handgun was legally checked and admitted on the flight.

He had many run ins with law enforcement while in Alaska as well as entering an FBI office claiming he was hearing voices and that a US intelligence agency was telling him to watch ISIS videos. He willfully accepted a mental evaluation after said incident. His Aunt told authorities “His mind was not right.”

Santiago served in the military for nearly a decade which included one 10 month tour to Iraq. He served in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard then transferred to the Alaska Army National Reserve in late 2014.  He received 6 awards or commendations for his service but was involuntarily discharged 5 months ago. His Aunt added “ He returned from Iraq a changed man.”

The FBI has not ruled out terrorism.

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday, January 9th. He is facing charges involving murder, firearms, and airport violence. It is very possible that Santiago will face the death penalty.

Sophomore Kyle Rowland-Mungo comments on the attack. “ I feel like the Obama Administration really dropped the ball on gun regulation. After the Sandy Hook shooting, there was promise of action by the Democratic party. The common Sense Bill was a good start, but honestly it didn’t change anything. We still have shootings, we still have psychopaths getting guns. I feel that the Trump Administration will be worse, because the republican party is backed and heavily supported by the NRA (National Riffle Association). Trump has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions for a cabinet position, who is also heavily supported by the NRA. I believe this will prohibit any bill to be passed that involves gun control and regulation. We are trying to prevent future attacks and right now the regulations are not strong enough to prevent gun related deaths on US soil.”

Sophomore Morgan Short adds, “The reason these things happen is security. I don’t understand why he was allowed to bring his gun on the plane. Clearly if someone walks into an FBI office claiming they are hearing voices should be thoroughly investigated, and not allowed to own a harmful weapon like that.”

Sophomore Caleb Gaither landed in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport just hours before the shooting. His family made it to their hotel room before the attack. He shares “ I feel that no matter what we do as a country to try and stop these attacks, there will always be tragedy. We all need to be careful, and aware that his sort of thing could happen to anybody.”

Junior Willis Martin adds, “If we take away guns, that won’t do anything. Heroin is illegal, people still obtain, and die from heroin. I think that Donald Trump’s policies will help with major attacks like this, but we need to be able to defend ourselves in such situations.”

No matter how one feels about guns, regulations, and government policy, yet another attack is a sign for change.